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22 Jun, 2023 13:40

13 Western tanks provided to Kiev destroyed – MOD

The armor was among hundreds of military vehicles lost by Ukraine during its counteroffensive, senior officials have claimed
13 Western tanks provided to Kiev destroyed  – MOD

Russian forces have destroyed or disabled hundreds of Ukrainian heavy weapon systems, including 13 Western-made main battle tanks, in the 16 days since the start of Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive, according to a breakdown provided by senior Russian officials.

The interim statistics were reported by Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian security council, and confirmed by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu during the body’s meeting on Thursday. The event was chaired by President Vladimir Putin, who asked follow-up questions about the share of Western hardware in the claimed losses.

Kiev lost 246 tanks between June 4 and June 21, the officials said. Of the 81 Western tanks that it had, 13 have been knocked out. Russian troops also destroyed 152 infantry fighting vehicles, including 59 Western-made, and 279 field artillery pieces and mortars, including 48 Western-made. Other Ukrainian losses included 443 armored vehicles, 424 regular vehicles, 42 multiple rocket launchers, ten fighter jets, four helicopters and 264 drones, Putin was told.

The Ukrainian forces have been weakened in the fighting and have now taken a pause to regroup and replenish their ranks, Shoigu reported. Referencing intercepted Ukrainian communications, he estimated that Kiev has lost over 13,000 troops during the active phase of the counteroffensive.

Putin noted that Ukraine’s ability to mobilize new troops was a limiting factor, even as Western nations pledged to provide more weapons to fight against Russia. The US and its allies “are indeed prepared to wage the war to the last Ukrainian,” he remarked, summing up Moscow’s assessment of the Western attitude towards the conflict.

Western main battle tanks were touted by many commentators as a gamechanger for Ukraine. Kiev started to receive the advanced armor as it was gearing up for its promised counteroffensive this year.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged on Wednesday that the operation was not going as well as many supporters of his government had hoped. Ukraine’s army “will advance on the battlefield the way we deem best,” he told the BBC.